School of Global and International Studies

Central Eurasian Studies

Fulfill your Language Requirement

The Five Central Eurasian Language Families

The Uralic or Finno-Ugric family includes Hungarian, Finnish, and Estonian. It is a unique language family -- totally different from the Germanic, Slavic, or Romance -- in the heart of Europe. Finnish even inspired J.R.R. Tolkien’s imagined Elvish language! The following languages are regularly taught at IU:

  • Hungarian
  • Finnish
  • Estonian

The Turkic family includes not just the Turkish of Turkey, but many languages in Central Asia and even China as well, such as Uzbek, Kazakh, and Uyghur. Almost 150 million people speak one or another Turkic language – and they are all pretty closely related! Turkish is a part of the ROTC Project GO (Global Officers). The following languages are regularly taught at IU:

  • Turkish
  • Uzbek
  • Uyghur
  • Kazakh
  • Kyrgyz

The Iranian family starts with Persian or Farsi, the language not just of modern Iran, but of poetry, history, and traditional Islamic culture from Turkey to India. We also occasionally teach Tajik, a Central Asian language like Persian but written with the Cyrillic alphabet, and Pashto, the main language of Afghanistan. Persian is a part of the ROTC Project GO (Gobal Officers). The following languages are regularly taught at IU:

  • Persian
  • Kurdish

Mongolian is the language of Genghis Khan and of the nomadic herders who still pasture their flocks on the Mongolian grasslands. Today Mongolia has become one of the world’s premier off-beat tourist destinations.

Tibetan is the language of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people struggling to preserve their heritage. The language is a gateway into a fascinating Buddhist Himalayan culture, with key links to both China and India.

Department of Central Eurasian Studies
Global and International Studies Building 3024
East Building, 3rd Floor
355 North Jordan Ave.
Bloomington, IN 47405-1105

Phone: (812) 855-2233
Fax: (812) 855-7500